Whilst I know the safety rules say only one kid on the trampoline at any one time, I’ve got kids. I’ve seen just how hard it is to have two or three kids standing on the ground, watching their sibling or their friend have a crazy fun time on the trampoline, and wait patiently whilst they do so.
Officially, only one child should be on a trampoline at any one time. However, pragmatically, I’ve seen 3 kids under 10 years old play happily on a 10ft round trampoline. I’ve also seen a few teens on larger 10×17 rectangle trampoline plenty of room and not crash into each other.
Let’s have a look at how trampolines are designed so we can better understand how many kids can go on a trampoline at once. I’ll also share some observations about what I’ve seen work and not work.
This is just my observations and is no way a suggestion that you should ignore the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.
Why Do Manufacturers Recommend Only One Person On A Trampoline At A Time?
Risk of Collision
When two or more kids bounce on a trampoline, there’s a real risk of collision. This is particularly true when it’s a smaller round trampoline.
A child will bounce at the side of the mat, ie, off-center, and the rebound causes them to move towards the middle. When you have two or more kids moving towards the center at the same time, you can see that eventually, they will bounce into each other. This collision can be worse when the kids are significantly different sizes.
Struggle to Keep Control of Direction
Balance in young children isn’t as well developed as in older children, and so they are more likely to lose control of the direction they are jumping in. It’s fun to watch, but it does mean that the more kids that are on the trampoline, the more likely they are to run into each other at speed. Again, you can minimize the risk by having only young kids or only big kids.
The More Kids, The Smaller The Trampoline, The More Collisions
A fundamental rule is that the more kids that are on a trampoline, eventually, they will crash into each other. This rule only grows in truth as the size of the trampoline is reduced.
Little kids will need a smaller trampoline to enjoy bouncing on it. If you have a small trampoline and many kids, there just won’t be enough room before they start bouncing into each other.
Even a large trampoline will see teens bounce around and crash into everything in sight. Again, the more kids, the more likely these crashes are. Most of these collisions are harmless, but if you have big and small kids, the danger of real damage increases.
They Will Learn the Double Bounce
When you have more than one child jumping, you’ve seen that if one kid does a little bounce first, and the second kid comes down a split second later, it sends the second kid ricocheting up and across the mat. It is amazing fun to do, with many shouts of “do it again!” coming from the mat. However, there is no control, there is risk of collision, and if the trampoline is small enough, they will run into the safety net or each other.
Here is the double bounce explained quickly in less than 2 minutes.
What Do The Medical Experts Say?
Trampolines are obviously an enormous amount of fun, keeping kids occupied and building strength and balance.
However, they are not without their dangers. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 strongly discourages use of home trampolines.
It is also worth noting that younger children are more likely to sustain injuries than older children. Three-quarters of injuries occur when more than one child is jumping, and it’s almost always the smaller child that is injured rather than the larger one. In fact, the smaller child is 14 times more likely to be injured.
(It’s not all collisions, the next group of injuries come from falling in between the springs.)
A later review from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2019 continues to discourage their use, noting that between 2002 and 2011, there were over 1 million visits to emergency departments due to trampoline injuries. One-third of the injuries had broken bones, and 1 in 200 had permanent neurological injuries.
Just to get a better idea of the risk rating, they also claim that that for 5-14 year olds, injury rates for home trampolines are similar to injury rates for home swimming pools. They are also less than the rates for bicycling and use of playground equipment.
Do Insurance Companies Cover Trampolines with More Than One Jumper?
Many insurance policies don’t even cover home trampolines as part of a standard inclusion. They often consider them to be “attractive nuisances”. This means insurance companies consider trampolines to be both dangerous and difficult for children to resist. They believe that children will find themselves drawn to the danger.
If you can show that you have the right safety equipment in place, you may be able to work with your insurance company. You want to try to get coverage for both personal injury liability and medical expenses, as well as personal property damage if the trampoline gets picked up by the wind.
Even if you work with your insurance company and manage too get coverage, it is almost certain it won’t cover more than one child on the trampoline at a time.
My Observations About Having More Than One Kid On A Trampoline
- It’s best if the kids are somewhat evenly matched in weight
- If the kids are light (and young), they will benefit from a smaller trampoline where they can get a decent bounce
- If the kids are older, they will benefit from a rectangle trampoline where there are multiple jump zones
Bounce Zones – The Size and Shape of the Trampoline
|Size of Child||Size & Shape Best Suited to Multiple Kids|
|Smaller Kids||Smaller Round (8-10ft) Smaller Rectangle (8 x 14 ft)|
|Bigger Kids||Larger Round (12-14ft) Larger Oval or Rectangle (9 x 16 ft)|
2 or 3 Smaller Kids On a Trampoline at Once
Round trampolines have one bounce zone. No matter where you bounce, you are directed more towards the center. The only time this doesn’t happen is if the kids are very little and light when compared to the size of the trampoline.
For example, I have seen three eight year olds on a 14 ft trampoline, and they just can’t get enough weight up to even bounce properly, so they end up a bit frustrated, and just chase each other around.
But when you put those same three 8 year olds on an 8ft or 10ft trampoline, they are able to get enough bounce up for it to be fun. There’s still enough room for them to jump around.
2 or 3 Bigger Kids on a Trampoline at Once
As the kids get bigger (and heavier), they will find it easier to push the springs down on a larger trampoline, and they’ll also benefit from having the extra room to bounce in.
It’s also worth remembering that if a round trampoline has one bounce zone, oval or rectangle trampolines have multiple bounce zones (link to what shape trampoline). This means that if the kids are at each end of the trampoline, they will be able to bounce independently, and not be drawn towards each other.
I have seen a couple of teenagers (around 15 years) have a marvelous time on a 14-foot round trampoline. They had enough room to jump, and enough weight, probably upwards of 110 pounds each.
You can also put these same teenagers on a larger rectangle trampoline, say 10 x 17 foot, and they will entertain themselves for hours. But the kids will need to be a certain size, it will be difficult for a single 85-pound child to get any decent fun out of this trampoline.
Finally, Watch The Manufacturer’s Weight Recommendation
There are a number of trampolines with a weight rating of over 400 pounds. However, there are also a number of cheaper, lower quality steel frame trampolines with a much lower weight rating.
Just do a quick sense check before letting 5 teenagers go on a trampoline rated for 250 pounds.
Whilst not recommended, you’ll often see two or three or more kids on a trampoline at once. They will enjoy playing with each other, and will keep themselves entertained for hours on end.